The Lok Sabha on Sep 7 passed the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012. The Bill provides for protection of livelihoods rights, social security of street vendors, regulation of urban street vending in the country and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Moving the Bill for consideration and Passing in the house , Dr. Girija Vyas, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, said “Street vendors constitute an integral part of our urban economy. Street vending is not only a source of self-employment to the poor in cities and towns but also a means to provide ‘affordable’ as well as ‘convenient’ services to a majority of the urban population, especially the common man.
Street vendors are often those who are unable to get regular jobs in the remunerative formal sector on account of their low level of education and skills. They try to solve their livelihoods issues through their own meagre financial resources and sweat equity.
Given the pace of urbanization and the opportunities presented through the development of urban areas, the growth of street vendors’ population is likely to have an upward trend. She said “ It is vital that these vendors are enabled to pursue their livelihoods in a congenial and harassment free atmosphere. Inclusive growth strategy adopted by the 11th and 12th Five Year Plans calls for a facilitating mechanism for street vending to aid economic growth and inclusion simultaneously.”
Main features of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012 are as follows:
The Provisions of the Bill are aimed at creating a conducive atmosphere where street vendors, are able to carry out their business in a fair and transparent manner, without the fear of harassment and eviction.
(i) The Bill provides for constitution of a Town Vending Authority in each Local Authority, which is the fulcrum of the Bill, for implementing the provisions of the Bill.
(ii) In order to ensure participatory decision making for aspects relating to street vending activities like determination of natural market, identification of vending zones, preparation of street vending plan, survey of street vendors etc. the TVC is required to have representation of officials and non-officials and street vendors, including women vendors with due representation from SC, ST, OBC, Minorities and persons with disabilities. It has been provided that 40% members of the TVC will be from amongst street vendors to be selected through election, of which one-third shall be women.
(iii) To avoid arbitrariness of authorities, the Bill provides for a survey of all existing street vendors, and subsequent survey at-least once in every five years, and issue of certificate of vending to all the street vendors identified in the survey, with preference to SC, ST, OBC, women, persons with disabilities, minorities etc.
(iv) All existing street vendors, identified in the survey, will be accommodated in the vending zones subject to a norm conforming to 2.5% of the population of the ward or zone or town or city.
(v) Where the number of street vendors identified are more than the holding capacity of the vending zone, the Town Vending Committee (TVC) is required to carry out a draw of lots for issuing the certificate of vending for that vending zone and the remaining persons will be accommodated in any adjoining vending zone to avoid relocation.
(vi) Those street vendors who have been issued a certificate of vending/license etc. before the commencement of this Act, they will be deemed to be a street vendor for that category and for the period for which he/she has been issued such certificate of vending/license.
(vii) It has been provided that no street vendor will be evicted until the survey has been completed and certificate of vending issued to the street vendors.
(viii) It has also been provided that in case a street vendor, to whom a certificate of vending is issued, dies or suffers from any permanent disability or is ill, one of his family member i.e. spouse or dependent child can vend in his place, till the validity of the certificate of vending.
(ix) Thus the mechanism is to provide universal coverage, by protecting the street vendors from harassment and promoting their livelihoods.
(x) Procedure for relocation, eviction and confiscation of goods has been specified and made street vendor friendly. It is proposed to provide for recommendation of the TVC, as a necessary condition for relocation being carried out by the local authority.
(xi) Relocation of street vendors should be exercised as a last resort. Accordingly, a set of principles to be followed for ‘relocation’ is proposed to be provided for in the second Schedule of the Bill, which states that (i) relocation should be avoided as far as possible, unless there is clear and urgent need for the land in question; (ii) affected vendors or their representatives shall be involved in planning and implementation of the rehabilitation project; (iii) affected vendors shall be relocated so as to improve their livelihoods and standards of living or at least to restore them, in real terms to pre-evicted levels (iv) natural markets where street vendors have conducted business for over fifty years shall be declared as heritage markets, and the street vendors in such markets shall not be relocated.
(xii) The Local authority is required to make out a plan once in every 5 years, on the recommendation of TVC, to promote a supportive environment and adequate space for urban street vendors to carry out their vocation. It specifically provides that declaration of no-vending zone shall be carried subject to the specified principles namely; any existing natural market, or an existing market as identified under the survey shall not be declared as a no-vending zone; declaration of no-vending zone shall be done in a manner which displaces the minimum percentage of street vendors; no zone will be declared as a no-vending zone till such time as the survey has not been carried out and the plan for street vending has not been formulated. Thus the Bill provides for enough safeguards to protect street vendors interests.
(xiii) The thrust of the Bill is on “natural market”, which has been defined under the Bill. The entire planning exercise has to ensure that the provision of space or area for street vending is reasonable and consistent with existing natural markets. Thus, natural locations where there is a constant congregation of buyers and sellers will be protected under the Bill.
(xiv) There is a provision for establishment of an independent dispute redressal mechanism under the chairmanship of retired judicial officers to maintain impartiality towards grievance redressal of street vendors.
(xv) The Bill provides for time period for release of seized goods, for both perishable and non-perishable goods. In case of non-perishable goods, the local authority is required to release the goods within two working days and incase of perishable goods, the goods shall be released the same day, of the claim being made.
(xvi) The Bill also provides for promotional measures to be undertaken by the Government, towards availability of credit, insurance and other welfare schemes of social security, capacity building programmes, research, education and training programme etc. for street vendors.
(xvii) Section 29 of the Bill provides for protection of street vendors from harassment by police and other authorities and provides for an overriding clause to ensure they carry on their business without the fear of harassment by the authorities under any other law.
(xviii) The Bill specifically provides that the Rules under the Bill have to be notified within one year of its commencement, and Scheme has to be notified within six months of its commencement to prevent delay in implementation.
The Bill is aimed at creating a conducive atmosphere for street vendors to do their business in dignity and is likely to help in giving livelihood protection to about 1 crore families.
Considering the significant contribution made by street vendors to the urban society, and to enable them to earn a decent livelihood through creation of conditions for decent work, without causing obstruction to the public and to reflect the spirit of the Constitution of India on the right of citizens to equal protection before the law as well as their right to practice any profession, occupation, trade or business, the Government of India revised the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, 2004 and brought out the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, 2009.
The revised Policy was circulated to all States/UTs for implementation after, the approval of the Union Cabinet on 23th February, 2009. The revised Policy underscored the need for a legislative framework to enable street vendors to pursue an honest living without harassment. Accordingly, a Model Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2009 was prepared by the Government of India. The Model Bill was also approved by the Union Cabinet on 23th February 2009 and was circulated to all States for taking a cue while legislating on the subject.
The Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation has been receiving continuous representations from individual street vendors and their organizations to bring a central legislation, which would be applicable to all the states and UTs. Therefore, for giving a national recognition to the contribution of street vendors and to ensure uniformity in the legal framework for street vending across States, a Central law on street vending is considered essential.
Regional level consultations were organized on the subject of implementation of National Policy on Street Vendors and legislative framework for street vending in Patna on 4th-5th March, 2011, Mumbai on 24thSeptember, 2011, and Delhi on 18.11.2011 which were attended by representatives from State Governments, Urban Local Bodies, NGOs, Civil Society, International Organizations, Experts, Members of Street Vendors Associations etc.
A National Consultation was also held in New Delhi on 23rd December 2011 to seek the views / comments of various stakeholders, including representatives of Street Vendors’ organizations and street vendors themselves on the salient features of the proposed legislation in order to evolve an effective and practical central law for the protection of livelihood rights and social security of street vendors. The suggestions and recommendations received covered a wide variety of measures relating to providing a conducive framework for street vending.
Accordingly, a new legislation namely ‘Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012’ was drafted under entries 20 (economic and social planning), 23 (social security and social insurance; employment and unemployment), and 24 (welfare of labour including conditions of work, provident funds, employers liability, workmen’s compensation, invalidity and old age pensions and maternity benefits) of List III of the Constitution. The Bill provides for protection of livelihoods rights, social security of street vendors, regulation of urban street vending in the country and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The draft Bill, was circulated to States/UTs on 29.02.2012 for comments. It was also discussed and deliberated during a National Consultation of Housing/Urban Development Ministers of States and UTs on the 28th of April, 2012, which was attended by 22 States, and received wide acceptance and support.
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